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Ex-boyfriend of ex-fiancé’s new girlfriend.  Read an excerpt from “Funny Story”

Ex-boyfriend of ex-fiancé’s new girlfriend. Read an excerpt from “Funny Story”

Ex-boyfriend of ex-fiancé’s new girlfriend. Could this be a funny story? We are publishing a fragment of a book by Emily Henry, whose bestsellers include “Beach Read” and “Book Lovers”. “Funny Story” translated by Monika Skowron premieres on May 15.


Some people are born storytellers. They know how to describe a scene, how to choose the right perspective, when to remain silent to build theatrical tension, or just to mention uncomfortable details. I wouldn’t have become a librarian if I didn’t like stories, but I’ve never been great at presenting my story.

If they paid me every time I interrupted my own anecdote, wondering whether the events had taken place on a Tuesday or whether it was actually a Thursday, then I would have made at least a few pennies, and it wouldn’t have been worth wasting so much time for such a small fee.

Peter, on the other hand, would have nothing to his credit, but he would enjoy a delighted audience.

I loved when he told the story of how we met. It was three years ago at the end of spring. We lived in Richmond at the time. Only five blocks separated his elegant apartment in a restored Italian-style tenement house from my more modest, yet carefully furnished place.

That day I took a detour home from work through the park, something I didn’t usually do, but the weather was perfect. And I was wearing a hat with a large soft brim, which I had never worn before, but my mother had sent it to me a week ago and I felt I should at least try it. I was reading as I walked – even though I had sworn I would stop doing so since I had almost caused a bicycle accident a few weeks earlier – when suddenly a gust of warm wind blew my hat off my head, sent it flying over an azalea bush and landed at the feet of a handsome, tall, blond man.

Peter said it looked like an invitation. He almost laughed at himself when he added, “I’ve never believed in fate before.”

If this was indeed fate, it had to be assumed that it hated me a little, because as the stranger bent down to pick up my loss, another gust of wind blew the hat up into the air and I chased the hat straight into the trash can. The kind made of metal, attached to the ground.

The hat landed on a pile of leftover Chinese lo mein, the edge of the lid cut into my chest, and I fell to the ground with a gasp. Peter described the incident as “adorably clumsy”. He left out the fact that I uttered a bunch of curse words. “I fell in love with Daphne as soon as I looked up from her hat,” he said, not mentioning the garbage pasta in my hair.

When he asked if I was okay, I answered with a question: “Did I kill a cyclist?” He thought I hit my head. (No, I just made a bad first impression).

Over the past three years, Peter has dusted off Our Story at every opportunity. I was sure he would include it in both the wedding vows and the wedding speech. But his bachelor party came and everything changed.

History has derailed. She found a new perspective. And in the new version I was no longer the main character, but a complication that would always be mentioned to enhance another story. Daphne Vincent, a librarian whom Peter fished out of a dumpster, almost married him, but the morning after his bachelor party she was suddenly dumped in favor of his “platonic” “best” “friend”. Petra Comer.

But why would he tell their story at all?

Everyone around Peter Collins and Petra Comer knew this story: how they met in third grade, when they were seated next to each other in alphabetical order of their surnames, and were united by their shared love of Pokemon. About how, not long later, their mothers became friends while supervising the children during a trip to the aquarium, and their fathers followed in the footsteps of their wives.

For the last quarter of a century, the Collinses and Comers have spent holidays together. They celebrated birthdays together, ate Christmas brunches, and decorated their homes with handmade framed photos with Peter and Petra’s faces illustrating the slogan “Best Friends Forever.” That, Peter assured me, made him and the most wonderful woman I had ever known “more like cousins ​​than friends.”

As a librarian, I really should remember “Mansfield Park” or “Wuthering Heights”, all those love stories and twisted gothic tales in which two characters first grow up together, then enter adulthood and finally confess their undying love to each other. But it didn’t occur to me. So now I’m sitting in my cubicle, scrolling through Petra’s public social media accounts, observing every detail of her new relationship with my ex-fiancé.

From the next room, Jamie O’Neal’s “All By Myself” plays loud enough to make my table shake. Mr. Dorner, the next-door neighbor, is banging on the wall. I can barely hear it because I’ve just come to the photo of Peter and Petra sandwiched between their parents on the shores of Lake Michigan – six extremely attractive people smiling, showing off their unusually white teeth above the caption: “The best things in life are worth waiting for.”

The music swells as if on cue. I slam my laptop shut and get up from the couch. This apartment was designed before global warming, when people in northern Michigan didn’t need air conditioning, so even though it’s only May, the apartment turns into an oven around noon. I walk down the hall to the bedroom and knock on Miles’ door. He can’t hear me because I’m drowned out by Jamie.

I stop knocking and start banging. I hear shuffling approaching. The door opens and a cloud of smoke billows out across the grass. My roommate’s brown eyes are red. Miles is wearing only boxers and a funny, knitted, colorful throw that hangs drearily from his shoulders like a cape. Considering the general atmosphere in our sauna apartment, I can only assume that he only put it on out of decency. I guess that’s overkill for a guy who the night before thought I’d lived with him long enough for him to shower bare-assed with the door wide open.

His chocolate brown hair sticks out in all directions. The matching beard is in a state of total chaos. He clears his throat.

– What’s up?

– All right? – I ask because I’m used to a disheveled and disheveled Miles, but I’m not used to him playing the saddest song in the world at full volume.

“Yeah,” he says. – All right.

– Could you turn the music down a bit?

“I don’t listen to music,” he replies, deadly serious.

“Hmm, you stopped her,” I say, just in case he’s too high to remember what happened just three seconds ago. – But she’s really loud.

He scratches his eyebrow with the back of his knuckles, frowning.

– I’m watching a movie, but I can turn it down. Sorry.

Without meaning to do so, I glance over him to better assess the situation.

Unlike the rest of our apartment, which was perfectly tidy when I moved in and is still perfectly clean, his room is a picture of misery and despair. Half the records are piled on top of milk crates, where they supposedly belong. The bed is unmade, the duvet is torn apart and the sheet is hanging out from under the mattress. Two worn-out flannel shirts hang from the mostly closed dresser drawers like ghosts someone has trapped mid-escape.

A complete contrast to the beiges and au lait of my room, its interior is a chaotic but cozy mix of 1970s rust, mustard and green shades. While my books stand neatly in the bookcase and on the shelf I installed above the window, his (a few) lie scattered on the floor with worn spines.

Manuals for electronic equipment, individual tools, an open pack of sour jelly beans are lying around on the desk, and on the windowsill a stick of incense is burning between several surprisingly lively potted plants.

The TV catches my eye. The screen shows thirty-year-old Renée Zellweger, wearing red pajamas and loudly singing a song into a rolled-up magazine.

“Oh my God, Miles,” I say.

– What? – he asks.

– Do you watch Bridget Jones’s Diary?

– It’s a good movie! – he shouts, somewhat defensively.

– It’s a great movie – I admit – but this scene lasts about a minute.

He sniffs.

– And?

– Then why has she been flying at least – I look at my phone – for the last eight minutes?

He frowns, dark brown eyebrows knitting together.

“Do you need anything, Daphne?”

– Could you please turn it down? – I’m asking. – All the plates in the cabinets are banging and Mr. Dorner is trying to break through the wall into the living room.

He sniffs again.

– Do you want to watch? – Invites.

In this room? Too high risk of tetanus. It wasn’t a generous thought, but I had already exhausted my reserves of generosity. This is what happens when your life partner leaves you for the kindest, cheeriest, prettiest woman in Michigan.

“Thank you, no,” I reply.

We stand there for a moment without saying a word. Usually our interaction doesn’t last longer. I’m about to break the record. It bites my throat and stings my eyes.

– And could you please stop smoking in the house? – I add.

I would have asked for it earlier, but theoretically the apartment belongs to him. He did me a great favor when he let me live here. Although he didn’t have many options. His girlfriend just moved out. To my flat. With my fiancé.

He needed someone to pay half of the rent, which Petra paid. I needed a place to sleep. I said: to sleep? To the point of sobbing, I guess.

I’ve been living here for three weeks now and I’m tired of coming to work smelling like I’m coming straight from a concert of the least-known band continuing the tradition of the Grateful Dead.

“I’ll stick my head out the window,” Miles promises.

– What? – I ask.

I immediately picture a chocolate Labrador riding in a car, its mouth open and its eyes squinted against the wind. That’s the kind of dog Miles reminded me of the few times we’d gone on awkward double dates with our now mated partners.

A friendly and muscular pet with a snub nose that made him look a little mischievous, and teeth that were somehow too perfect compared to his slightly scruffy face. The last three weeks had left a mark on him in the form of a certain wildness – he was a Labrador retriever bitten by a werewolf and returned to the shelter. To be honest, I also saw myself in this description.

“I’ll stick my head out the window when I smoke,” he explains.

“Okay,” I say. I have nothing more against him. I’m getting ready to leave.

– Are you sure you don’t want to watch the movie?

Oh my God. The truth is, Miles seems like a nice guy. Really nice! And I imagine that what he feels now must be comparable to my emotional torture. I could take him up on his offer and sit in his room on the unmade bed and watch a romantic comedy while absorbing a pound and a half of weed through the pores of my skin. Maybe it would even be nice to pretend for a moment that we weren’t strangers trapped in the nightmare of a breakup. But I have better ideas for spending Wednesday evening.

“Maybe another time,” I say, and go back to the computer to look for a new job, away from Peter, Petra, and Waning Bay, Michigan.

I wonder if Antarctica needs a librarian in the children’s section. One hundred and eight days and then I’m out of here.

Funny Story promotional materials Poradnia K

Source: Gazeta

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